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Research Projects > 2021 Grantees

Breast adipocyte hypertrophy: a novel biomarker to predict breast cancer survival

Research Type: Breast Cancer

Project Description

Breast cancer patients with obesity are at increased risk of poorer survival. Obesity is usually measured by body mass index. However, the size of fat cells in the breast, could be a more relevant measure of adiposity, for predicting breast cancer survival, because it indicates the amount and distribution of body fatness.
Findings strongly suggest that higher body fatness is associated with worse prognosis in breast cancer survivors but the best measure is unclear. Dr. Diorio hypothesizes that large size of breast fat cells in the breast is a novel predictive biomarker for breast cancer survival. Cell size will be determined from breast fat tissue in a group of breast cancer survivors treated at a Canadian breast cancer reference center. If confirmed, clinicians can then act on this information by personalizing treatment. Identifying at-risk patients using a simple, low-risk and reproducible biomarker is a major advancement in cancer care as a significant proportion of women are obese at diagnosis.

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